As part of the agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Bristol, Va., company will also be required to improve its water treatment practices, Ward writes. It will spend $200 million "to install and operate wastewater treatment systems and to implement comprehensive, system-wide upgrades to reduce discharges of pollution from coal mines."
Other plans "include building new treatment facilities, but others would piggyback on treatment operations already underway as a result of previous court settlements with citizen groups," Ward writes. "The deal also involves some locations where Alpha will deal with selenium by pumping contaminated water into old underground mines."
"Monitoring records attached to the complaint show that in some cases, the releases exceeded permit limits by as much as 35 times," Allie Robinson Gibson writes for the Bristol Herald Courier.
Robert G. Dreher, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, said "The unprecedented size of the civil penalty in this settlement sends a strong message to others in this industry that such egregious violations of the nation's Clean Water Act will not be tolerated." (Read more)